The first week of July marks the start of new housing contracts for students everywhere. Most people spend their time planning their housewarming party and praying for barbeque weather with little thought to the contractual obligations they have signed up for. If this is your first step into private rented housing, some unscrupulous landlords will attempt to cash in on your lack of experience to make a quick profit. Withholding deposits, charging you for repairs, or including unreasonable demands in the contract are not uncommon in student housing.
Make sure you know your rights so you can focus on more important things during your student years.
Get your deposit protected
When you hand over your deposit if should be placed in a government-recognised deposit protection scheme. If it isn’t, then you can take legal action against your landlord. At the end of your tenancy, your landlord can only withhold your deposit for certain things such as outstanding bills or damage.
Set boundaries with your landlord
You have the legal right to enjoy your property undisturbed, so your landlord isn’t allowed to show up unannounced or enter your property without warning. The exception to this rule is if they need to carry out an emergency repair. Otherwise, they should give you 24 hours notice before carrying out any routine repairs.
Don’t carry out repair work yourself
Your landlord is responsible for carrying out all maintenance and repairs, so don’t be tempted to fix anything yourself as you may make the problem worse. Your landlord can’t make you pay for the repairs, unless the damage is a result of your actions. Report problems as soon as they arise, even if you don’t think the repair is urgent. The repair should then be carried out in reasonable time, depending on the urgency of the problem.
Your landlord is legally obligated to make sure there are fire alarms and adequate escape routes in the event of a fire. You may have joint responsibility for this, such as making sure you test the fire alarms and not letting junk block an escape route.
Your tenancy agreement isn’t a one way street, and you will have to stick to your side of the deal if you want to avoid landlord disputes. At the very least, you have to pay your rent on time, keep the property clean, not intentionally damage anything and make sure your guests don’t damage anything either. If your landlord follows the correct procedure, they can easily evict you, so make sure you consult with dispute resolution solicitors if things go sour with your landlord.
Calling All Students! Do You Know Your Tenancy Rights? Reviewed by Student Voices on 17:13 Rating: